Everybody has a dream that they can make money from something that is running in the background while you go about your day. Fortunately in 2017, in the age of the internet, this lifestyle believe it or not is possible. Affiliate marketing is the process that involves both the product seller also known as the merchant and the promoter making money from any sale that comes through the promoters platform, whether that be a website or a youtube channel. The usual instance involves a percentage of the retail price been given to the affiliate. Before I go into any detail about how to start up affiliate marketing for your business, I first need to fully explain the aspects involved.
Merchant (product seller) – This is the company that has built the product they are selling from the ground up and are looking to sell it to third parties and people directly. For example, the company coca-cola is classed as a merchant. They are the company and brand that provides the product and the ones that in turn should make the most money from any sales made.
Affiliate – This is the person that promotes the product and takes a commission for the sales made. The affiliate will try and convince people that the product it’s promoting is the best option and it can be done with many different methods. For example, you could have a youtube channel. say you have a good number of followers and you produce weekly content. You could run an ad at the start of each of your videos that promote certain companies or products with a link to go along with it. So now whenever someone buys something after coming directly from your channel, you will take a percentage.
Consumer – This is the person that actually buys the product. As an affiliate, it’s your job to grab the attention of as many consumers as possible, so you can earn money as well as the manufacturer. When you are carrying out affiliate marketing, it’s entirely up to you whether you let the consumers know that you are an affiliate or not. While it is becoming more common these days for companies to let their affiliate deals be known, there is still some fear that people have of revealing too much about their business. Regardless of which approach you take, the consumer won’t be aware of any affiliate deals as far as their purchase goes and there isn’t any effect on the total price of the product. The affiliate will usually take a percentage of the top of the final price.
The Network – Last but not least is the network which is the gateway between the merchant and the affiliate. There are multiple networks out there that have deals with advertisers so that anyone who signs up to these networks as an affiliate will be given those products to promote. If you take the avenue of gaining deals through a network, then it means that they will take a small fee themselves for each of the sales made. Now you can go and promote products and services on your own by getting in contact with the seller directly and arranging some sort of affiliate deal, however, using a network means that you can let them handle the transactions between seller and affiliate and you may have access to more opportunities. Some businesses only manage their promotions through a network for example and may not be open to changing that.
If you are just starting out in the affiliate marketing world, then I highly suggest that you start with a network. A network is like a search engine for affiliate deals, you can scan through a whole list of sellers and choose which you’d like to promote.
One of the biggest affiliate networks out there is eBay.
Everybody that has grown up around the internet has heard about eBay, it is a massive online marketplace for people to buy and sell near enough anything. Although, many people don’t know that you can promote any of the items to earn a commission. Anyone can do this as well, all you have to do sign up for their affiliate program and you can start promoting on your website, social media, blog etc.
So now you know more about what affiliate marketing is, it’s time to put it into practice.
Getting Started On Affiliate Marketing
While all of the moving parts are shown above, when it comes to affiliate marketing, you can only really narrow it down to 2 parts. Either you create a product and look for people to promote it, or you promote other people’s products.
Becoming an Affiliate
Becoming an affiliate is a lot easier that coming up with your own product. An affiliate is skipping the step of hoping that your product will be popular one day and doesn’t have to manage a whole marketing campaign for it. Instead, you are just a cog in that campaigns machine working on your own marketing. Now don’t get me wrong, of course the one that comes up with the idea(the merchant) is going to make more money from their product overall, however being an affiliate can still be pretty lucrative when it’s done right.
First, you need to garner yourself a bit of an audience. This is the part that is going to take the most amount of work. You’ve got a few options here in terms of what platform you wish to gain your following on. You could start a blog for example and begin writing reviews in a certain niche or you could start up a youtube channel just to name a few.
Below is a few affiliate networks I’d recommend:
Each of these platforms allows you to start using your own affiliate links.
For affiliates to be able to track the number of sales or conversion that are coming through their site then they need to create an affiliate URL. This is completely unique to that one affiliate so that they can be paid the correct commission for the sales.
You can spot an affiliate link when you see “/ref ” appear in your URL bar. For example, you might see a something that looks like this:
As you can see there is something within the URL that contains “ref” and it links to a product page.
Simply signing up to an affiliate network is one of the easiest ways that you can get your affiliate link. Let’s say you sign up for the eBay Partner Network. As you can see from the photo above, eBay give you an easy way to create your affiliate link. All you have to do in this scenario is go to any product on the eBay website, copy and paste the URL in here and it will generate your unique affiliate link.
You would then place this link somewhere for your audience to see such as your website, social media etc.
I’ve just grabbed the URL for a coffee machine here as an example. Once you’ve placed your affiliate somewhere, the user clicking on it should see that affiliate URL appear briefly which is highlighted above and then they’ll be directed to the product.
Methods of Driving Traffic to your Affiliate Links
Now your affiliate link is all set up, you need people to click on it. Now while it’s visible not everyone will click and plenty of people might not see it. In order to drive people to your affiliate link, it’s best to use every avenue available to get it into view. I’m going to list a few methods that I believe is the best solutions for your work.
Gathering a list of emails from people is a great way to get more conversions, you can get emails from your audience in a number of different ways. A few places you can try and get email addresses are:
- Sidebar – This will appear alongside every page of the website, allowing you to advertise your affiliate deals or email signup.
- Footer – This again is another section that appears on every page of your site which you can see at the bottom.
- Exit Gate – An exit gate is what you can show just as someone is about to leave your page. This will trigger as soon as the user hovers up to the top bar of the browser.
- Hello Bar – You can have a strip appear at the top of your site that sticks at the top to throw. You can use to advertise your affiliate links or an email sign up.
Advertising your affiliate link on your social accounts are a great way of driving more sales through. Social media is a very personal thing and anyone that vies your social account will want to know information about you, if you have some affiliate links on there, people will want to know how you are making your money online which in turn might result in a sale. Some of the social accounts I would use include:
- Instagram(if the affiliate product is physical)
Now including your affiliate links within your profile is a good style of passive marketing but if you want to push your ad out there then you can use some paid ad features. Facebook especially has a great paid ad system that allows for very targeted advertising. This model is essentially pay-per-click so it’s really important that you narrow down your target audience.
The Facebook ad manager is similar to Google AdWords, you can easily target audience and can track the conversions that are coming through each of your ads.
The best way to set up your targeted ad is to think about the exact person that will be interested in your affiliate product. You can narrow this down to a number of demographics including age, gender, interests etc. Once you’ve got your ideal candidate in mind, you can now set up your ad to target the person through Facebook Ads.
When it comes to twitter, it’s all about 140 characters. This is placed in your followers feed which they will be able to see for a very short period of time before whoever they are following takes over, so there are a few factors you’ll need to consider when you are marketing on twitter.
You’ll want to be conversational when you are dropping in your links for use. It’s a lot easier to make your affiliate link more relevant when you are actually using it in a conversation style. For example, I get questions all the time from people asking me what tools are best to use for keyword research. This is a perfect opportunity for me to drop in my affiliate links in with my recommendations. You can use this with any kind of marketing that you can find.
What you can also do is link indirectly to your affiliate link. You can do this through the likes of a review or you a tutorial which has your affiliate link attached to it. People are generally more responsive to this kind of marketing as it isn’t quite as aggressive as simply promoting your product outright.
Placing your Affiliate links on other websites and blogs
Another way of getting your affiliate into people’s view is by promoting it on other websites and blogs. I would suggest that you look at buying some ads space and placing your affiliate links there.
This is a great website for both publishers and advertisers which allows you to search for sites in a specific niche so can find your right audience. For example if you have an affiliate deal for a makeup product, you might find a fashion blog on buysellads.com that gets 20,000+ visitors per month. If you can get your affiliate link to appear there on that blog, then that’s thousands of potential clicks which could then result in sales.
Creating a guide for your affiliate product
Now, this obviously depends on the kind of product that you are promoting but having a quick guide or tutorial can help persuade the user that it’s the product for them.
If you are writing for some piece of software, you could create a tutorial on how to use the tool or if you were advertising a DIY tool you could show a step by step guide on how to set it up properly.
Affiliate marketing is everybody’s ideal situation. Getting paid to simply place ads and links is a great way to work. However, if you want to find yourself in this position and want to earn yourself a good amount of money, then you’ll need to work extremely hard on gaining some sort of following. As I’ve explained there isn’t one set way that this has to be done so it’s up to you which platform you decide to focus on, but if you manage to gather an audience big enough in a specific niche, then you’ll most likely end up with a good amount of affiliate deals coming your way.